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Wild ride for history-making NIU football team

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch (6) scrambles during first quarter Mid-American Conference championship NCAA college football game against Kent State

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch (6) scrambles during the first quarter of the Mid-American Conference championship NCAA college football game against Kent State, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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Updated: December 3, 2012 6:07PM



What likely will be remembered as the wildest weekend in the history of Northern
Illinois football featured a double-overtime victory against Kent State in the Mid-American Conference championship game Friday, coach Dave Doeren accepting the N.C. State coaching job Saturday and the Huskies receiving an Orange Bowl berth Sunday.

Oh, yeah. NIU also got a new coach, with offensive coordinator Rod Carey being named Doeren’s successor.

‘‘When you say it like that, it makes my head spin still,’’ said Carey, who learned he was being promoted Sunday evening. ‘‘It has been crazy; it has been nuts. That’s the only way to explain it. But it’s been good; it has been wonderful. And what a privilege for our kids to go to the Orange Bowl. You should’ve seen our kids. They were so excited, they could hardly stand it.’’

The Huskies (12-1) became the first MAC team to earn a berth in a BCS bowl after
they finished 16th in the BCS standings. They will play Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State (11-2)
in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day in Miami.

Carey said the final touches still are being put on his five-year contract. Although he doesn’t know which assis-
tants will go with Doeren and which will stay, his first order of business is finding a way for quarterback Jordan Lynch, who leads the nation in rushing yards (1,771) and total yards (4,733), and NIU’s 15th-ranked offense to score against the Seminoles’
No. 2-ranked defense.

‘‘You don’t get in this game unless you’re a good football team,’’ Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. ‘‘They’ve earned the right to be here and have this opportunity, and they’re going to try to maximize it and make the most out of it. We know we’re going to have an inspired opponent.’’

Carey said that while leaving for N.C. State was the right decision for Doeren, he’s committed to the Huskies.

‘‘I’ve wanted to be at this place a lot of times in my
career,’’ he said. ‘‘Now that I’m here and this has happened, I don’t know why I would want to go anywhere else.’’



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